My proudest and happiest memories were of those special times when I would get to put on my clown makeup and my fez, and parade through town with my brother Shriners; having fun while raising funds to help our children in the Shriner’s Hospitals.
Always too soon, the sun starts to set, the sounds of laughter and brass bands fade away, and I am alone again, slowly walking down a cold, dark, city street.
Suddenly I spotted a still readable discarded newspaper. I picked it up, uncrumpled it, and read the tragic headline with disbelief, “SCHOOL PRAYER BANNED.”
All of a sudden a wave of sadness and nostalgia came over me, and I was transported back to a kinder, gentler place and time, when I was a small child in a one room school house, back home again in Indiana.
The time was 1923. We students had just finished reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, which, like me, was only ten years old.
Our kindly old teacher called us together and said, “Boys and girls, I have been listening to you recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester, and it appears that it has become monotonous to you, or could it be that you do not fully understand or appreciate its significance? If I may, I would like to recite the Pledge to you and explain the great nobility of its every word.”